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Labour U-turns on early childhood funding

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

05 July 2005

Labour U-turns on early childhood funding

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says Labour has done a sneaky U-turn by cutting $2.2 million out of funding for early childhood education.

"At a time when Labour is trying to tell everyone it is concerned about early childhood education, and that it is putting more resources into it, it is actually doing the opposite and is cutting funding," says Mr English.

He is commenting on a statement by Education Minister Trevor Mallard which claims Labour has increased funding for new Early Childhood Centres.

"The fact is that Trevor Mallard has reduced funding for the Discretionary Grant Scheme, which targets children who traditionally are less likely to access early childhood education, including children from poorer homes or those in rural areas.

"Mr Mallard said today: 'The funding announced today takes the annual spend on Discretionary Grants to $18.59 million in 2005/06'.

"But his Budget statement said: 'The additional funding takes the annual spend on Discretionary Grants to $20.8 million in 2005-06.'

"Which figure is right? Where's the $2.2 million gone, Mr Mallard?

"What he has announced today is, in effect, a decrease in spending, and he's tried to hide it in the middle of a garbled press release.

"Why doesn't he just come clean and admit that early childhood education is a low priority for this Government," says Mr English.


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